Expect Holiday Travel to Break Records, AAA Says

The automotive association revealed this week that more than 100 million people are going to be on the road—whether in planes, trains, or automobiles—during the last week of 2017. Here’s what to expect.

Higher gas prices aren’t enough to keep people off the road this holiday season.

According to the motor club AAA, around 107.3 million people will take various forms of transport to go see their loved ones this holiday season—a jump of 3.1 percent from a year ago and the highest reported level ever. It’s also an increase of 21.6 million from 2005, showing a consistent track record of growth, and just the third year that the number has topped 100 million.

That’s despite gas prices being expected to jump nearly 40 cents nationally from 2016, from $2.17 to $2.53 per gallon, according to the association’s holiday forecast [PDF], produced by IHS Markit. Bill Sutherland, AAA’s senior vice president of travel and publishing, says that’s a common theme he’s seen in recent years.

“More expensive gas prices are not swaying holiday revelers to stay home,” Sutherland said in a news release. “In fact, across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend—Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving—and we project the same for the year-end holiday period. We’ve seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long.”

The report finds that while a majority of people will travel by car—97.4 million, an increase of 3 percent from last year—air flight saw a slightly higher level of growth, though just 6.4 million are expected to take a plane this year.

Other highlights from the report are a list of expected days when travel is going to be the worst in major urban areas like New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, and preferred year-end travel destinations. (Disney must play a factor, considering the top locations are Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California.)

Traveling anywhere good this year? Share your destination in the comments.

(Kichigin/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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